PRESSURE VARIATION IN FLOWING FLUIDS Basic Causes of Pressure Variation in a Flowing Fluid: In static fluid gravity causes pressure

to vary with elevation. In fluid flow in addition to the weight effect acceleration and viscous resistance are the basic causes of pressure variation. To accelerate a mass of fluid in a given direction, there must be a net force in the direction of acceleration. Therefore, the pressure must decrease in the direction of acceleration as shown in figure. For flow in a pipe F1 = p1 A1 F2 = p2 A2

A1, p1

p2, A2

Variation of pressure in a pipe

Since A1= A2, net pressure force on the fluid acts to the right, i.e, F1 > F2

∴ P1 > P2

In addition to acceleration, pressure variation is needed to overcome the viscous resistance, which acts in opposition to the motion of the fluid. Pressure Variation due to Weight and Acceleration: Element shown in figure is being accelerated in the l direction. Applying Newton’s second law in the l direction and using the system approach,

∑ Fl = Ma l

p∆A − ( p + ∆p )∆A − ∆W sin α = ρ∆l∆Aa l − ∆p∆A − γ∆l∆A sin α = ρ∆l∆Aa l


∆W = γ ∆l ∆A)

Pressure and weight forces acting on an accelerating fluid element. (a) Fluid element. (b)Trigonometric relation

dividing by ∆l∆A
∆p − γ sin α = ρa l ∆l …………………………………………………………………… (1)

Pressure is a function of both position and time. Taking the limit of ∆p at a give time as ∆l → zero yields the partial derivative: ∆l
limit ∆p ∂p = ∆l → 0 ∆l t ∂l

Taking the limit as ∆l approaches zero at a give time yields Thus the limiting form of Eq. (1) when ∆l approaches zero is or, taking γ as a constant,

sin α =

limit ∆z ∂z = ∆l → 0 ∆l ∂l

∂p ∂z −γ = ρa l ∂l ∂l

∂ ( p + γz ) = ρa l ∂l


This is a Euler’s equation for a fluid. When al = 0

p + γ z = C (for hydrostatic).

In other words, along a path of zero acceleration the pressure distribution must be hydrostatic. This assumes that the gravity and pressure forces are the only forces acting. That is, it is a non-viscous flow.

a net force must act on the liquid in the same direction. dl γ = constant = ρg. Since. Thus as the depth decreases in the direction of acceleration. the pressure along the bottom of the tank must also decrease. Therefore. Eq. The change in pressure is consistent with the change in depth of liquid because hydrostatic pressure variation prevails in the vertical direction.Examples of Pressure variation Resulting from Acceleration Uniform Acceleration of a Tank of Liquid: When open tank of liquid is accelerated to the right at a rate of ax. V = rω d ( p + γz ) = ρ rω 2 dr p + γz = Integrating with respect to r gives ρ r 2ω 2 2 + constant . Hence. (2) reduces to ∂p =0 ∂l d (γz ) = − ρa x cos α where the total derivative is used because the variables do not change with time. then ∂p = − ρa x ∂x which shows that the pressure must decrease in the direction of the acceleration. z is constant. (2) in a radial direction. such as at the bottom of the tank. as shown in figure. which is consistent with the requirement F = Ma. since there is no component of acceleration in that direction. Applying Eq. Consequently The acceleration along A'B' is given by al = ax cos α. 2 d ( p + γz ) = ρa r = − ρ V r dr − where the partial derivative has been dropped since the flow is steady and a function only of the radius r. this is accomplished when the liquid redistributes itself in the tank as shown in figure by A'B'CD. but Thus or a cos α dz =− x dl g dz = − sin α dl sin α = a x cos α g tan α = ax g Along a horizontal plane in the liquid. Rotation of Tank of Liquid: Consider a cylindrical tank of liquid rotating at a constant rate ω. of Along the liquid surface A'B' pressure is constant. Surface A'A' appears after a period of time when a steady state has been established. Acceleration in the radial direction is negative (toward the centre of rotation). Under this condition the hydrostatic force at the left end is greater than the hydrostatic force at the right. p = patm.

V12 = {γ (l + d ) − γd } ρ V1 = 2 gl . Applying Bernoulli equation between points 1 and 2. in the flow field as: V 12 V 12 p 2 V 22 p1 V 22 p1 + γz1 + ρ = p 2 + γz 2 + ρ (In pressure units) + z1 + = + z2 + (In head units) 2 2 γ 2g γ 2g Note that the V in the Bernoulli equation is the speed of the fluid and not a velocity component. but it is much more versatile than the stagnation tube. and also irrotational. Application of the Bernoulli Equation Stagnation Tube: Writing Bernoulli equation between points 1 and 2 for the stagnation tube shown in figure (as z1 = z2) V 12 V2 = p2 + ρ 2 p1 + ρ 2 2 Velocity at point 2 is zero ( a stagnation point). In gas-flow measurement. non-viscous. Bernoulli equation is a scalar equation. ⎧⎛ p ⎞ ⎛p ⎞⎫ V2 = 2 g ⎨⎜ 1 + z1 ⎟ − ⎜ 2 + z 2 ⎟⎬ ⎜γ ⎟ ⎜ γ ⎟ ⎠ ⎝ ⎠⎭ ⎩⎝ Using V2 = V. a simple stagnation tube is not convenient to use in such a situation. the piezometric head V = 2 g (h1 − h2 ) Flow velocity can be measured easily with the Pitot tube by connecting a pressure gage or manometer between taps that lead to points 1 and 2. It can be used to predict the pressure distribution within the fluid or the pressure distribution on a body if the flow pattern about the body is known. which reduces to A very simple device such as curved tube can be used to measure the velocity of flow. Pitot Tube: The Pitot tube is based on the same principle as the stagnation tube. the velocity of the stream and p + z =h.Bernoulli Equation If the flow is steady. 2 Therefore. A major advantage of the Pitot tube is that it can be used to measure velocity in a pressurized pipe. The Pitot tube has a pressure tap at the upstream end of the tube for sensing the stagnation pressure . incompressible. . shown in figure. p1 = γ d and p2 = γ (l + d). where ∆p is the pressure difference across the taps. Bernoulli equation can be derived from the Euler’s equation p V2 V2 p + γz + ρ = Constant (In pressure units) +z+ = Constant (In head units) 2g 2 γ In most applications the Bernoulli equation is written between two points. 1 and 2. There are also ports located several tube diameters downstream of the front end of the tube for sensing the static pressure in the fluid where the velocity is essentially the same as the approach velocity. 2 Thus. and solving for V2 as V1 = 0. V12 = ( p 2 − p1 ) ρ By the equations of hydrostatics (there is no acceleration normal to the streamlines where the streamlines are straight and parallel). where a single differential pressure gage is connected across the taps γ V= 2 ∆p ρ .

and z0.⎜ ⎟ =1 . and h is the piezometric head at a given point.⎜ ⎟ A n V02 / 2 g ρV02 / 2 ⎝ n ⎠ ⎝ n ⎠ where n is the distance between two adjacent streamlines measured along the line (probably curved) perpendicular to both streamlines as shown in figure (a). in terms of the streamline spacing or = 1. 2 2 V 02 − V 2 ⎞ V0 − V ⎞ ⎛ p0 ⎛p ⎜ + z⎟ − ⎜ or where h0 is the piezometric head at h − h0 = ⎟ ⎟ ⎜ γ + z0 ⎟ = 2g ⎜γ 2g ⎠ ⎠ ⎝ ⎝ the reference point.⎜ 0 ⎟ or =1 . The left side of either of equations is often called the pressure coefficient Cp.Pressure Variation near Curved Boundaries If flow passages are converging. the relative pressure (pressure coefficient) along the centreline and along the boundary at various points is plotted in the figure (b). and the results may be applied to a large-scale structure. By rearrangement. test can be made on a small-scale structure (a model). then the equations in terms of the flow passage are Because V ∝ (that is. Relative piezometric head It is the change in peizometric head (or pressure) between two points in the flow field relative to the velocity head (kinetic pressure) of the reference velocity. at the reference point.⎜ ⎟ or =1. That is. Since both sides of above equations are dimensionless. Then. A V0 A h − h0 h − h0 2 2 ⎞ ⎟ ⎟ ⎠ 2 p − p0 ⎛A ⎞ ⎛A ⎞ = 1. Consequently. then irrotational flow will be approximated for low-viscosity fluids such as water or air. velocity. that is 2 2 p − p0 A0 n 0 h − h0 ⎛ n0 ⎞ ⎛ n0 ⎞ = . This is the principle of model testing. (a). including points adjacent to the boundaries. Because there are greater variations of velocity near the boundary. and p. are pressure. and elevation at any other given point. and z. V 02 p V 2 p0 +z+ = + z0 + Fig. h−h p − p0 or Cp = 2 0 Cp = V0 / 2 g ρV02 / 2 Fig. V. Hence the Bernoulli equation can be used to obtain the pressure variation between points in the flow field. V0.⎜ 0 ⎟ 2 2 ρV0 / 2 V0 / 2 g ⎝ A⎠ ⎝ A⎠ For two-dimensional flow. application of the equations is not a function of the density of the fluid or the absolute size of the passage that controls the flow. For the conduit of figure (a). Writing Bernoulli equation between the reference point and any other point. the streamline spacing is directly proportional to the flow area. (b). γ 2g γ 2g where p0.⎜ By nondimensionalizing 2 2 ⎜V ⎟ ⎜V ρV0 / 2 V0 / 2 g ⎝ 0 ⎝ 0⎠ A 1 V = 0 ). Flow net for transition (half-section). are pressure. 2 . velocity. For gases in which hydrostatic 2 2 ⎛ p − p0 ⎞ V 0 − V ρ ⎜ p − p 0 = (V 02 − V 2 ) effects are negligible or ⎜ γ ⎟ = 2g ⎟ 2 ⎝ ⎠ ⎛V ⎞ ⎛V p − p0 =1 . the pressure variations are also greater along the boundary than they are along the centreline. such as is shown in figure (a). and elevation respectively.

then the flow will be irrotational throughout the entire flow field. For the case of flow of water in rivers or wind in the atmosphere. This phenomenon is called separation. Viscous resistance in the smallest eddies eventually dissipates virtually all of the kinetic energy that initially existed in the larger eddies. it is accelerated to its highest speed by the action of the pressure gradient. Then as it passes from B to C. Also shown. This process of vortex generation and decay is typical of all turbulent flows and is one of the most significant aspects of fluid mechanics. which is consistent with the increase in pressure from A to B. These vortices or eddies lead to the phenomenon called turbulence. Next. . depending on the sign of the relative pressure and on a line normal to the surface of the cylinder. that is. a typical case of which is shown schematically in figure (b). but in the process of turbulent mixing.0) and the minimum pressure (Cp = –3. In figure (b) the relative pressure Cp is plotted outward (negative) or inward (positive) from the surface of the cylinder. Then if the flow is also steady. Finally. as the particle travels from C to D. The points at the front and rear of the cylinder (points B and D) are points of stagnation (Cp = +1. the pressure Fig (a) Irrotational flow past a cylinder distribution on the surface of the cylinder. vortices are formed. Separation In regions where boundaries turn away from the flow so as to cause the streamlines to diverge. in figure (a). its momentum at C is sufficient to allow it to travel to D against the adverse pressure gradient (pressure increases in the direction of flow here). These vortices are often called eddies. which through viscous action are finally dissipated into heat. obtained by application of the Bernoulli equation. In rivers the larger eddies are often called whirlpools. the flow usually “separates” from the boundary and a recirculation pattern is generated in the region. Consider the flow pattern about a circular cylinder shown in figure (a).Pressure Distribution Around a Circular Cylinder⎯Ideal Fluid If a fluid is nonviscous (an ideal fluid) and if the flow of such a fluid is initially incompressible and irrotational. The eddies that are initially developed are relatively large.0) occurs at the midsection (point C) where the velocity is Fig. (b) highest. Research in this area will be especially challenging and rewarding for engineers and scientists for years to come. the flow is almost always turbulent. A vortex is defined as the motion of a multitude of fluid particles around a common center. In the region between the high-velocity flow outside the zone of separation and the low-velocity zone inside it (figure (b)). is the pattern for ideal flow past a similar plate. V0 and p0 are the velocity and pressure of the free stream far upstream or downstream of the body (points A and E). Fluid cannot rotate because there is no shear stress (viscosity is zero) on the surface of the body. the Bernoulli equation will apply. Because the flow pattern is symmetrical with either the vertical or the horizontal axis through the centre of the cylinder. A fluid particle first decelerates. they break down into smaller and smaller eddies. the pressure decreases over the entire path from B to C. is also symmetrical. the particle accelerates to the free stream velocity in its passage from D to E.

eddies are generated. is imposed on the body in the downstream direction. a net force called. . Because of the steep velocity gradient along the surface of separation. The normal tendency is for the layer of reduced velocity (called the boundary layer) to grow in thickness in the direction of flow. separation occurs for a Reynolds number (Re = VDρ/µ) greater than 50. roughness of the surface or turbulence in the approach flow has an effect on the location of the separation point. a thin layer of fluid has its velocity reduced from that predicted by irrotational theory. the pressure on the downstream half of the body is much less than the pressure on the upstream half. For angular-type bodies. the point of separation occurs at the sharp break in boundary configuration. The effect of Separation on Pressure Distribution: When separation occurs. the fluid near the boundary can proceed only a very short distance against the adverse pressure gradient before stopping completely. as shown in figure. Once the motion of the fluid next to the boundary ceases. For example. as shown in figure. For flow past a square rod and a disk and through a sharp-edged orifice. which through viscous action are finally dissipated into heat. the entire flow field is dominated by relatively large viscous resistance that inhibit the onset of eddy motion in the fluid.The point of separation may be related to the shape and roughness of a body. Therefore. Considering the flow of a real (viscous) fluid past a circular cylinder. in flow past a circular cylinder. as shown in figure. however. For both cylinder and disk. Because of the viscous resistance. Downstream of the midsection deceleration of the fluid next to the boundary is limited (in contrast with irrotational flow) because its velocity is already small (much smaller than for irrotational flow) because of the viscous resistance. Thus the process of separation is produced. drag. because the main stream of fluid outside the boundary layer is accelerating in the same direction. Downstream of this point of separation. flow separation occurs at the boundary discontinuity. the fluid outside the surface separation has a high velocity and the fluid inside the surface of separation has a relatively low velocity. In fact. However. For Reynolds numbers less than 50. the boundary layer remains quite thin up to approximately the midsection. consequently. the fluid particles directly adjacent to the surface have zero velocity (this “no-slip” condition at a boundary is characteristic Flow of a real fluid past a circular cylinder of all real fluids). Because separation is closely associated with the viscous resistance of the fluid. this causes the main stream of flow to be diverted away. Pressure that prevails at the point of separation also prevails over the body within the zone of separation. the Reynolds number (Re ∝ ν) is an indicator of the onset of separation. the flow pattern and pressure distribution is changed. or to be “separated” from the boundary. Since the location of the point of separation on a rounded body depends on the character of the flow in the boundary layer.

where vapour bubbles are forming at the restriction. Usually this damage occurs in the form of a fatigue failure brought by the action of millions of bubbles impacting against the surface material over a long period of time. If the flow is increased even more than indicated above. Experimental and theoretical studies reveal that very high intermittent pressures develop in the vicinity of the bubbles when they collapse. thereby indicating a less-than-atmospheric pressure for the liquid in the constriction. the dimensionless plot of piezometric head along the wall is shown. Such a condition is shown in figure (a). Cavitation in an enclosed pipe or machine can often be detected by the characteristic sound generated. ship propellers. For such a condition the entire vapour pocket may intermittently grow and collapse. such as pipe walls. the reference point is taken at the centre of the pipe. because at this pressure the liquid boils. there is a relatively small drop in pressure at the constriction. the piezometric-head line actually drops below the pipe. For low and medium rates of flow. the pressure in the water remains well above the vapour pressure. thereby producing dynamic effects that can often lead to decreased efficiency and/or equipment failure. pump impellers. Here. The pressure can drop no lower than the vapour pressure of the liquid. and cavitation does not occur. valve casings. Therefore. but the zone of vaporization increases. vapour bubbles form (boiling occurs) and then collapse (condense). they can cause damage. or dam-spillway floors. These pressures may exceed 800 MPa (115. producing serious vibration problems. In large structures. as shown in figure (b). Therefore. In figure (b). then collapsing as they move into a region of higher pressure as they are swept downstream with the flow. however. it sounds like large rocks are being carried through the system and are hitting the sides of the conduit. if the bubbles collapse close to physical boundaries. In figure (a).Cavitation Cavitation occurs in liquid systems when the pressure at any point in the system is reduced to the vapour pressure of the liquid. Under such conditions.000 psi). If the rate of flow is high. the minimum pressure is still restricted to the vapour pressure of the water. . the physical configuration and the plots of piezometric head along the wall of the conduit for different flows are shown. thus producing pitting of the material in the vicinity of the zone of cavitation. growing in size. Cavitation should be avoided or minimized by the proper design of equipment and structures and by their proper operation. Consider water flow through the pipe restriction shown in figure.

What will be the deflection on the manometer. Find the difference in depth of the liquid from the r (Ans: ∆ h = 0. Under these conditions. 1. in centimeters? (Ans: ∆ h = 34. The velocity in the outlet pipe from the reservoir. The liquid is inviscid and incompressible. Liquid flows with a free surface around a bend. 3 and connected to a water manometer. 3 . where r is in meters. 2 1.0 cm) Fig. The velocity varies with the radius across the flow as V = Fig. A pipe slopes upwards in the direction of fluid flow at an angle of 30° with the horizontal. is accelerated downward at 2/3 g and to the right at one g. 2 1 m/s. Assume that two pressure taps are located at ±30° as shown in Fig.2 kg/ m3 and a velocity of 50 m/s in the direction shown on the figure. Here L = 2 m. 1 Fig. and flow is steady and irrotational. PC – PA = 38.3. (Ans: PB – PA = 12. which is full of liquid. The cylinder is immersed in air with a density of 1. shown in Fig.3 g? (Ans: –0. 2. Determine PC – PA and PB – PA. H = 3 m. is 6 m/s and h = 15 m.045 m) inside to the outside radius. The inside radius of the bend is 1 m and the outside radius is 3 m.15 kPa) 4. and the liquid has a specific gravity of 1. What is the pressure gradient in the flow direction along the pipe in terms of the specific weight of the liquid if the liquid is decelerating (accelerating opposite to flow direction) at a rate of 0. what is the pressure at A? (Ans: 129.26 kPa) 3. 5.ADVANCED FLUID DYNAMICS Problem Sheet No. Because of the rounded entrance to the pipe.75 kPa.20 γ) 2. The pressure coefficient distribution on a cylinder in a cross flow is given by Cp = 1 – 4 Sin2 θ where θ is the angular displacement from the forward stagnation point. The closed tank shown in Fig. the flow is assumed to be irrotational.

5 kg/ m3. where the pressure and temperature are 70 kPa and -6. (Ans: 11. If the air temperature is 20° C at standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. 5.7 m/s) Fig.87 m/s) Fig. is used in the manometer and that a Fig. A rugged instrument used frequently for monitoring gas velocity in smokestacks consists of two open tubes oriented to the flow direction. is used for finding gas velocity by measuring the pressure difference between the upstream and downstream points A and B.4. The pressure coefficient is 1. The cross-sectional area of the tube at station 2 is one-half that at section 1. Calculate the gas velocity. 6.8 cm deflection is noted The pressure and temperature of the stack gases are 101 kPa and 250° C. A pitot tube used to measure air velocity is connected to a differential pressure gage. consists of a stagnation probe at station 2 and a static pressure tap at station 1. as shown in Fig. A pitot tube is used to measure the air speed of an airplane. as shown in Fig. (Ans: 70. A spherical probe. The indicated airspeed is 60 m/s. The pitot tube is connected to a pressure-sensing device calibrated to indicate the correct air speed when the temperature is 17° C and the pressure is 101 Pa. shown in Fig. What is the velocity at station 2? (Ans: 80. and the gas density is 1.6. What is the airspeed? (Ans: 69. The airplane flies at an altitude of 3000 m. Determine the velocity of the stack gases. Air with a density of 1. The gas constant of the stack gas is 200 J/kg K.3 m/s) ******************************** .2 kg/m3 flows through the duct. and connected to a manometer. 4.0 at A and -0. Assume that water.3 at B.17 m/s) 10.3° C. A water manometer is connected between the stagnation probe and the pressure tap. The pressure difference (Ans: 61. and if the differential gage reads a pressure difference of 3 kPa. what is the air velocity? 8.7 m/s) PA – PB is 4 kPa.0 and -0. and a deflection of 10 cm is measured. 4 7. 5 9. A flow metering device. 6 0. at 20° C. The pressure coefficients at point A and B are 1.

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